I graduated 3 months ago and my first aim was to be able to do parkrun without it destroying the rest of the day. Well I reckon I can do 5k now and feel fine afterwards. Next was to do a fun run, and that has been organised, I run in Brum in September. Third I want to do 10k, but I have a bit of a problem, and I can't think of a solution.

I don't like dogs, big time. So I do parkrun (dogs can't compete with 300 runners) and I can do intervals on the treadmill. The problem is how do I do a long run each week. the thought of a continuous hour on the treadmill fills me with dread. Even thirty minutes is a drag. But I can't run outside unless it's virtually guaranteed to be dog free (and it should probably be paved I'm not interested in trail running). I can't think of anywhere I can run that will be dog free - well apart from Lanzarote, but sadly I go home at the end of next week.


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18 Replies

  • How do you cope in daily life with your fear of dogs? If you could apply those strategies for when you run that might help? I agree about treadmills... Not fun at all!good luck

  • I do have sympathy with you as I am not keen on dogs myself. There tend to be a few dog walkers on my normal route, but fortunately so far those off the leads (dogs, not dog walkers) were well behaved. I decided that I would try ignore the dogs as long as they were close to their owners and hope for the best. We have a small wood nearby, but apart from the fact that it's hilly, the thing that puts me off there is the dogs running "wild". Not exactly a tip, just an expression of solidarity... Which fun run is it you are doing in Brum in September?

  • bigfunrun.com/birmingham

    cannon hill park - big fun run.

    Are you going to be there? If there are any c25k people we should try to meet up, though there are going to be thousands there so it might be a problem.

  • Would love to, but may have a meeting all morning that day. Will see how it goes. Am hoping to do my first park run there next week.

  • been meaning to do a parkrun there as it's my next closest. When I get back off holiday I'll see if I can arrange it, and I'll mail you. Maybe we can have a coffee afterwards or something?

  • Sure - unfortunately Saturday mornings are quite busy as I need to take kids to places when it's my turn and I am away a lot over the next month. Hoping to make it for the bank holiday Sat and then maybe later on in June.

  • I guess a lot will depend on where you live for options: in town you may encounter less dogs off the lead but have more woes in the form of traffic. Maybe you could find a local Athletics club with access to a track? Or even round our way there are clubs that regularly use the town for training together? Safety in numbers & all that ...

  • Don't let the dog thing hold you back. You can do it. Most dogs are not interested in you. They prefer lamposts and other dogs in the main

  • Dogs are a pain in the bum. I like them, but they're allowed on our Parkrun and there is one particular woman who has hers on an extendable lead and it ALWAYS trips people up! Very annoying.

    Have you tried running in a park at all? There's always tons of flipping dogs in our local one but they have never been interested in me at all.

    If you could afford it, hypnotherapy would DEFINITELY work wonders. Or as mrstickle says if you run with a club, or even just a couple of other people you might be less bothered by them. Did you do the C25K program on a treadmill?

    There will be a way, loads of people hate dogs. I hope you find it soon. School playing fields? Some have public access but dogs are banned for obvious reasons.

  • I suppose I could try hypnotherapy and get rid of the phobia. I'd have to be pretty convinced it would work 'cos it would cost and I'd need time off work, which is the bigger problem.

    I've discussed this with my partner and I'll try the park to see just how bad it might be. There is a local authority running track nearby as well. I might ask If I can use that. I'd have to get special permission so the chances are almost zero unless they want to use it for publicity or something.

    Running with other people is a possibility = you don't have to run faster than a tiger, you just have to run faster than the person you took along to watch the tiger!

    And yes. I did c25k on a treadmill and graduated at parkrun.

  • Gosh could you try hypnosis. It would be such a shame that soemthing like this would hold you back. maybe some sort of cognitive behavioural therapy or desentisation??

  • hypnosis has been suggested in the past. Logically it's the best solution, but somehow I don't want to do it. Maybe it's a denial thing. I always have the excuse if I need it. If I start petting Alsatians I no longer have my safety blanket.

  • It is a shame really. I think it boils down to dog's owners spoiling it for everyone by not training their dogs. My Dog is well trained and actually more obedient and well behaved than a child. (He only barks on command or emergency and does both his businesses on command as well! Now you could not have a child do this! ) He goes with me on my early morning runs. I let him loose and he enjoys the freedom while looking after me. I am now training him to run by me on a short lead. He does not care about other people. It is just our wellbeing that is important to him.

    The thing is, there will always be dogs around, so you should look at your fears and see what can be done. We have areas here where dogs are not allowed, or school sports grounds, some beaches. You should be able to run somewhere dog free. Check with your Council. Shame you can't meet my dog. He is more of a friend than a dog really

  • I used to have a fear of strange dogs until I got two of my own. Then I got better at determining how they behave when they are excited, scared, angry, etc. I am now fine with strange dogs because I can interpret their intention better. And I'm less tense as well, nervous people behavior can make dogs nervous as well. Do you know any dog trainers that could take you out around some dogs? I'm sorry to hear it's such a common issue where you are. Here in Canada they're supposed to be kept on the lead except in designated parks. Of course, folks often don't obey.

  • In Australia we have a lot of designated areas where dogs can be let loose. My back gate opens onto a park which is dog on leash only. Three hundred metres across the park and it is the area where dogs can be free all the way to the beach. So before the ranger is up, we sneak out through the back gate while everyone is still sleeping, and run loose for those three hundred metres. The only people we come across are runners which don't worry about my Ben and he does not worry about them. Ps: we also know the ranger 😊. I do feel safer with my dog when running amongst the trees with hidden little shadowy "gremlins" and so early in the morning.

  • I envy you. I'd love to live in Australia. I keep carpet pythons and skinks. Australia has the best reptiles :) And even I can outrun a carpet python.

  • Confession time -you are not alone. When I was younger I was out playing with my friend and she was subject to an unproked and very savage dog attack. I got help. The dog was shot , she was hospitalised for weeks and eventually moved. She didn't die bit I lost my friend. I have been terrified of dogs since- although over the years it's lessened.

    Ok so how to handle this- well it different for everyone and you have to find you own way. One thing for sure like any phobia , you either find the strength to face it or it will rule your life. What running has given me is inner strength- I never thought I could run, but inner strength helped. I never though I could face dogs. - but they won't rule my life. I run. But not in a park. - too many there. I run on roads or canal paths. There are the odd dog. But because of the dangers they are on leads. I can cope with that , close you eyes and your past.

    Bellevue me , don't let this hold you back, just find a way. You can, there is always a way.

    Good luck

  • I do really sympAthise too about dogs, I love dogs and owned a gorgeous little cocker spaniel. The problem in chile is dogs wonder free, I have had a few moments and it makes me nervous. I try to avoid them too but sometimes this is not possible, luckily they are mainly placid but I am not 100% convinced. What keeps me running outside is some days I don't have any encounters with dogs and your right being on a treadmill for 10km is a drag.

    Secondly, please be assured dogs tend not to really bother you and if they do I have been known to tell owners that they should keep their dog on a lead. remember you also have a right to use public spaces and owners should be responsible, if you ever get he/she won't do anything my answer is always "I don't know that do I" usually this gets them thinking.

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